CAD Tech News (#141)

8 Jan, 2021 By: Cadalyst Staff

Graebert’s Growth Fueled by CAD Users Leery of Licensing Changes

Graebert neXt 2020, Part 1: During a difficult year for many businesses, Graebert saw substantial growth — stemming in part from ex-AutoCAD users turned off by Autodesk’s evolving software licensing policies.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Graebert is a Berlin-based CAD developer whose products operate both in plain sight and below the radar: The company’s software is sold under Graebert’s ARES brand and is also licensed by other software vendors to power applications such as Dassault Systemès DraftSight and PTC Onshape. Together, these various avenues for Graebert’s technology to reach users enable the relatively small company to claim the second-largest installed base for DWG-based CAD software after AutoCAD.

Dissatisfaction Drives Growth

Although the damage the COVID-19 pandemic wrought on supply chains, customer demand, and other essential business components pummeled many companies this year, Graebert thrived. “Unlike most of our competitors, our company is not owned by investors ... we create value for our customers and partners, not for the stock exchange,” said CEO and founder Wilfried Graebert during this year’s online-only Graebert neXt conference. “Despite corona, we keep this year hiring strongly,” he said, increasing the company size by some 30% in 2020.

According to the Graebert team, one factor behind the company’s growth is dissatisfaction stemming from Autodesk’s licensing changes in recent years. “Autodesk is driving customers to us just by their policies,” Wilfried Graebert told Cadalyst. “Right now, the named-user account is really causing an uproar in the enterprise community. [That change can] double the budget sometimes, and this is not a good time for that.”

Cédric Desbordes, Graebert’s business development and marketing director, explained that because there are often four to eight employees using each network license, transferring them all to named-user licenses incurs a cost increase that “is just not possible” for many companies to absorb. That makes the current moment a “very pragmatic” time for AutoCAD users to switch to a new solution, he believes.

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst’s editor in chief.

Sponsored: After More than Two Decades, Experienced Engineer Switches to DraftSight

A long and varied career gives one CAD user perspective about what makes an application appealing.

From DraftSight

Engineer and CAD consultant Andrew Rhodes works as a solutions architect at Sabel Systems Technology Solutions, an information and communications technology company whose clients include IBM, Southwest Airlines, and the United States Marine Corps. The Sabel Systems team employs DraftSight from Dassault Systèmes to equip their customers’ digital engineering teams for 2D drafting tasks, as well as reproducing and reverse-engineering elements of historical technical data packages. Rhodes writes macro programs and creates specific templates to customize the experience for Sabel Systems customers. DraftSight is one component of Sabel Systems’ Digital Engineering Cloud solution, which is designed to support Department of Defense (DoD) Digital Engineering Strategic Objectives, according to the company.

But Rhodes’s experience with CAD began decades before he joined Sabel Systems: “I started with AutoCAD 9 in the year 1990, [back] when it was launched on two 8.5" floppy discs. My first project was a 1:1 scale map of the inner planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth and the Moon, and Mars [with its moon] Phobos. This was to show paper space and model space scaling,” he recalled.

A Wide-Ranging Career in CAD

After that astronomically successful first experience, CAD continued to keep Rhodes very busy. “I have had hundreds of projects since then: sheet metal, castings, generator sets, fuel tanks, ship hulls, rigging and lifting, electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic schematics, layout, and land surveying from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Laramie, Wyoming. Architectural blueprints, 3D models, Xrefs, DXF M-code, and G-code are among the [types of work that I’ve done].”

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Get First Dibs on the 2021 Freebies Guide!
Cadalyst is updating our "Fabulous Freebies for CAD Users" guide, and we'd like your input! Do you have a favorite software tool or resource that doesn't cost a thing? It could be a PDF converter, a file utility, an AutoLISP routine, or anything else that helps you with your work — submit a relevant tool and receive a copy of the updated e-guide before it's available publicly. Send your tool recommendation(s), along with your name and a brief description of why you use that tool, to by Monday, January 18, for consideration.

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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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